By Sandra J. Judd

Cardiovascular problems Sourcebook

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Heart disease risk factors that you have some control over include high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, and smoking: • Eat a heart-healthy diet with reduced amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, and control your weight. Follow your health care provider’s recommendations for treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Reduce or stop smoking. • Exercise may help prevent obesity, and it helps people with diabetes control their blood sugar. • Exercise may help you maintain your abilities as much as possible and it reduces stress.

The report authors examined the results of ten studies, which included nearly fifty-three thousand participants. After adjusting their statistics so they wouldn’t be skewed by high or low numbers of participants of certain ages or genders, the researchers found that those with subclinical hyperthyroidism were 24 percent more likely to die during the study periods, 29 percent more likely to die of heart-related problems, and 68 percent more likely to have atrial fibrillation. Burman, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study, said the risk of early death and heart problems were still low even with the increased risk.

This means that you don’t have high blood pressure yet, but are very likely to develop it in the future. 1. Classification of Blood Pressure For Adults1 Category Normal Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg) Less than 120 and Less than 80 120–139 or 80–89 Stage 1 High BP 140–159 or 90–99 Stage 2 High BP 160 or higher or 100 or higher Prehypertension How does high blood pressure affect heart disease risk? High blood pressure increases your risk of dying early or having a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.

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